Contador adicinado em Janeiro / 2008

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hilary Duff Has Heart – And Knows How to Use It

Hilary Duff is dedicating her name to the AIDS Walk, but that’s hardly this 21-year-old’s only mission.
Editor’s Note: At 21 years old, Hilary Duff is no longer a tween sensation, but she is still coming into her own. And, to that end, Duff’s making sure to take up as many good causes as possible, like her current project, the AIDS Walk. Her mother, we’re sure, is proud — and, in fact, helped shape Duff’s charitable spirit. Here the entertainer talks to wOw about AIDS
Walk, ignoring backlash over her pro-gay politics, tabloid culture and how, despite her benevolent perspective, it’s fun to be bossy.
HILARY: Hi, Andrew.
wOw: Hey, Hillary. How are you today?
HILARY: I’m fine. How are you?
wOw: I’m very well, thank you. It’s finally summer in New York City.
HILARY: Oh, great! Man, I was just there and I missed it. I thought it was going to be warm and it wasn’t yet.
wOw: You’re in California?
HILARY: Yes, I am.
wOw: So it must be nice all the time?
HILARY: It is. It’s been a little gloomy lately, but I think the sun’s coming out today, so that’s good.
wOw: Good news. Great. You and I are talking primarily because you’ve agreed to be the grand marshal for the AIDS Walk. So, first and foremost, why did you personally — other than because it’s a good cause — agree to participate?
HILARY: Oh, there are a few different reasons, actually. This isn’t my first involvement – well, not with the AIDS Walk, but kind of in that world. I started working with a program called GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
wOw: Right.
HILARY: And basically what it does is try to make schools a safe haven for kids, because in this day and age even their homes aren’t safe for them. And it’s all about not discriminating and accepting people for being different. It’s not just about being gay, either. It’s also about your race, or being different in any way and trying to just stop the hating. But obviously a lot of the kids in that alliance are gay and lesbian, and I just loved it. I loved hearing some of their stories, which were just terrible. So, I got involved and did a PSA for them. Then, when I was doing the Rachael Ray show, I met this guy who was really involved with the AIDS Walk, and he’s like, “I saw that PSA you did and it was awesome and, you know, you would be perfect to host the AIDS Walk.” Of course, it’s such a big deal and so many great people have done it before and, anyway, that I can lend my name or try and raise awareness …
wOw: I imagine a lot of your fans are fairly young, you are fairly young – 21, correct?
HILARY: Yes.
wOw: As we saw with Miss California, a lot of people got really angry with her for sharing her view that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Do you ever get backlash from people who object to your pro-gay, nonprofit work?
HILARY: I’m sure I do, and I just don’t read it. I honestly don’t care, you know? I think that one of the great things that we, as Americans, have is the privilege of getting to have an opinion. I think everyone should have equal rights. And if people don’t like me because I believe in that then – well, you can’t make everybody happy. wOw: That’s certainly true. I want to get off-topic for just one second because you kind of broached a subject — about things being written about you. You’ve been famous for a very long time and you’ve been in tabloids. I interviewed Cloris Leachman last month. And I asked her, “What do you think about tabloids?” And she made a really good point. She said, “Well, you know, you have to remember that this is their job so you have to work with them.” Do you agree with that?
HILARY: To a certain extent, but no, not really. They make my life hell every single day and the sensitive side of me thinks that it’s a tough world out there and people are struggling and a job is a job. There’s such a want for tabloid stories and pictures, which I kind of understand. You know, these people are making a ton of money and the job’s not that hard, I don’t think. But I also think it’s disgusting and there need to be laws about it. I’d be a lot more willing to work with them if it was one day out of the week that they got to follow me. But it’s annoying. There’s no freedom. I feel trapped every single day.
wOw: I would think.
HILARY: You know, I’m not trying to make people feel sorry for me because I also have a wonderful job. And I never got into the business because I wanted to be famous. I loved acting, and I loved singing. It’s just like someone typing all day. They don’t want carpal tunnel, but it comes along with the territory.
wOw: You just said you have a wonderful job, which is true. You’re young, you’re wealthy, you’re popular. So why take the time to work with these nonprofits? Is it something that you feel a celebrity has a responsibility to do, or is this part of your upbringing? This giving back?
HILARY: I think it’s both. My mom grew up very poor and made a great career for herself before she had my sister and I. She always made it very important in our household to, you know, adopt families during Christmas and cook for them on Christmas day. Instead of getting toys on Christmas we would adopt families that had kids our age and give them the toys we were given. My mom would really explain it to us from a young age: other people are not as privileged as we are, they were really struggling, and it’s important to give back to your community. But I think now, especially that I have a name that people might pay attention to, it is really important to raise awareness and to use that for good.
wOw: You also have this organization, Blessings in a Backpack, which I think is really, really cool. Basically you give impoverished youth food to take home for the weekends, right?
HILARY: Yes.
wOw: Did you create this group? Or is this just something you’re involved with?
HILARY: When I first started touring I met this man named Stan Curtis, who started USA Harvest. And he contacted my mom and my manager at the time and said, “Hilary has been selling arenas out for two months straight. She’s got another four months on tour coming up and if she asks her fans, each one of them, to just bring one can of food, you have no idea how many people you would feed.” And I started doing that. It was so easy.
wOw: Yeah?
HILARY: You wouldn’t believe how many teenagers and parents were coming with, like, carloads of canned food. And we fed a ton of people and we actually opened Canadian Harvest together. And then he came to me with the statistics and this idea that he had. He’s from Kentucky, and he had already been taking care of a school there for about a year, and explained to me how well the program was working and that they work with the local grocery store and get food at a really discounted price. And they basically get volunteers, or the school comes up with a way to work the program, where backpacks get stuffed on Fridays and the kids have a backpack full of food Saturday and Sunday, and bring it back on Monday.
HILARY (CONT’D): He was telling me 60 percent of American kids on assistance programs get only five meals a week at home, which is dinner, obviously, and luckily they get breakfast and lunch at school. And then it raises the question: What happens on the weekends? And our tagline is so great. I just thought about it the other day: “Hunger doesn’t stop on the weekends.” And we’re expecting these kids to show up at school on Monday morning and learn and focus, because being hungry and trying to learn doesn’t work.
wOw: Right.
HILARY: And kids are our future and expecting them to live this way, and having a child wonder when the next time they’re going to eat, or when the next meal’s coming – that’s a terrible thing, and it’s happening in America. And not enough people know about it.
wOw: While we’re on the subject of schools, do you think high-school students should be taught about how to prevent themselves from getting HIV?
HILARY: Yes. That’s a huge thing with the AIDS Walk — putting those education programs back in schools. It’s such a weird thing because education about that stuff is so available on the Internet, but in schools nowadays, it’s hush-hush. And it’s like they’re trying to keep kids in the dark about it. But it’s happening everywhere. So why are we avoiding talking about educating kids on how to protect themselves, you know?
wOw: I definitely agree. I mean, you and I were both born post-AIDS and have been educated since, I guess, pre-teen.
HILARY: The other thing that kids should know is it’s not just homosexuals that get AIDS. Straight people get it too, and I think that a lot of people are confused by that and don’t know that it can happen as well, you know?
wOw: Definitely. I also think that because everybody is so aware that HIV exists – I mean, I hope that everybody’s aware that it exists – sometimes the urgency is lost. During the early ‘90s, when it was just being publicly discussed, there was so much urgency around it. And now – this is not to denigrate your involvement, but the celebrity cultures that surround the issue can sometimes be a distraction, and teaching it in school will remind people that this is not just something that a celebrity rallies around. It’s a real, daily issue. But, you know, that’s just my opinion. When did you, and this might be a hard question, when did you first know what the word “gay” meant? Like what it was to be gay. Do you remember, or no?
HILARY: Umm, gosh, I don’t know. I can’t say. I don’t think I know the exact time. I know that I was young. My mom had a lot of gay friends while I was growing up, so it wasn’t a big thing that I had to be taught, you know?
wOw: Uh huh. Right.
HILARY: It was just a normal thing. wOw: All right, back to your nonprofit work. I know that you did the Red Dress fashion show this year. I know this because I was there and I wanted to interview you, but you were swarmed with reporters. Was that your first time doing Red Dress?
HILARY: Yes.
wOw: And were you aware of how serious heart disease is among women before that?
HILARY: You know what? I was. My mom is a diabetic, and she’s a pretty serious diabetic. And so I did, I did know that it was the No. 1 killer of women and I felt it was important for me to get up there and lend my name and stand with all of those other really strong women to support a good cause. Everybody thinks that breast cancer is the No. 1 killer of women, but it’s heart disease by a huge number — I forget the statistics — and diabetes is right there along with it.
wOw: Oh, really? Is diabetes ahead of breast cancer, do you know?
HILARY: No, but most diabetics get heart disease.
wOw: That’s really interesting. I did not know that. What other women-centric causes do you work with? Do you work with any others?
HILARY: Well, we keep this very quiet and obviously there’s no press that surrounds it — when on tour we would go to women’s shelters and soup kitchens and feed them and sit there and talk to them and motivate women. And these are very private shelters, you know, where women have been abused or where women are keeping their children safe and they’re very protected there. And it’s kind of like a rehabilitation center to get them back on their feet.
wOw: If you weren’t an entertainer, what would you be doing with your life?
HILARY: I might work with children somehow. For a while I really loved the idea of doing speech therapy with kids. But I just watched a movie — "Earth," have you seen that?
wOw: No.
HILARY: It’s kind of like "Planet Earth." A lot of people are saying, like, "Oh, you don’t need to see it if you’ve seen ‘Planet Earth.’" I think that would be awesome to go and film stuff like that. It’s just, like, animals in the wild and watching how the mothers treat their babies, or just the cycle of life. It was fascinating. Maybe I’d be some kind of outdoor adventure photographer thing.
wOw: You are an actress as well. So do you ever think about directing? Is that something that interests you?
HILARY: I would love to. I would really love to do that. I’m kind of busy right now. I have a lot on my plate and I still feel like it’s a funny time for me. You know, I’ve done so many independent movies lately, which I love doing. But I still feel like I’m trying to get people to see me in a different way.
wOw: You mean other than as a child? You know, a famous kid?
HILARY: Yeah. And I think that people that are in the industry know, but I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong about that. But I still feel the struggle a little bit and I feel like I have a lot of work to do in proving myself. I’m still just 21. But I would love to direct. Working on independent movies is especially fun for me because you get to sit there and map out scenes and figure out what works and what doesn’t. With indies there’s a little more freedom and I’m getting pretty good at figuring out how to set up a shot and it’s fun. It’s fun to be bossy.
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Source: wowowow

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